Written by Mella McEwen, Oil Reporter for MRT, and first published by Midland Reporter-Telegram.
XRI Holdings is celebrating a milestone not many companies reach – its 10th anniversary.
“It really is significant for any company to achieve the 10-year mark,” observed Matt Gabriel, chief executive officer during a Teams call. “It’s particularly exciting to celebrate this for XRI.”
Both the water management and energy industries have evolved significantly in the 10 years since XRI opened its doors, Gabriel continued.
“We came in as outsiders. We picked the Permian Basin. We picked energy, we picked water,” he said.
Over the decade XRI has been in business, Gabriel said it has benefited from a careful, considered business plan. Over the last year or two the company was one of the first to focus on use of non-potable water, he added.
“There’s a shift in the industry from groundwater to recycled water that began in 2018,” he said. “The idea of recycling water as being the best alternative to disposal is growing. But if disposal is necessary, we want to ensure it’s distributed to areas better suited geologically to handle it.”
Looking ahead, Gabriel said he sees value and reason to invest in developing ways to beneficially reuse produced water outside the oilpatch, which would both expand the opportunity to reuse produced water and minimize the number of barrels being sent downhole.
Two developments need to take place for future reuse: Improving the economics of treatment so other uses can be found for clean produced water and, second, advancing technology around evaporation, whether it’s traditional evaporation of technology that advances evaporation.
He sees the oil and gas industry as the perfect platform for XRI and other companies to perfect the treatments and processes used to recycle water for future fracturing and completions projects so they’re applicable for industrial markets. Mining and manufacturing are two that came to mind for Gabriel.
It can also play a role in the energy transition and aid in the development of domestic resources of rare earths that will be a key part of new energy, whether batteries or other uses. Gabriel said XRI has tested the produced water it handles for lithium and it has been present but not at concentrations sufficient to monetize and justify extraction.
“As we continue to improve the processes, areas previously closed to due to cost prohibitions, doors could open as alternative extraction methods develop,” he said.
XRI is constructing its Evolution Pipeline System, a large-scale, multi-producer water recycling and produced water infrastructure network that connects its existing pipeline infrastructure in Midland County to its infrastructure footprint in Reagan and Upton counties.
Gabriel said XRI is in negotiations for a similar system to be built in the Delaware Basin and is optimistic an announcement on the new project will come soon. Scale, he observed, is important and the fastest way to drive costs down.
It has been interesting to be part of an industry that has seen so much disruption, he reflected.
“I think the oil and gas and energy companies have done a wonderful job of setting a high bar for thoughtfulness and environmental stewardship,” he said. “What we do as an industry is incredibly important to the country and the changes the industry has made and being more vocal about those advances is important.”